.  Issue #342.
October 23, 2014
Editor-in-Chief: Jack and Mary Ann Lawford, www.landspeedracing.com
President of the Society: Jim Miller, 1-818-846-5139
Assistant Editor:
Richard Parks, Rnparks1@Juno.com
Photographic Editor of the Society
: Roger Rohrdanz, beachtruck@juno.com
Northern California Reporter: Spencer Simon, sparklecraftspecial@yahoo.com
Field Reporter/Historian: Bob Falcon, rfalcon279@aol.com
Historians: Anna Marco, Dick Martin, Tex Smith, Burly Burlile, Jerry Cornelison


Click On All Images / Link For more Info / Images

STAFF EDITORIAL, by Richard Parks:      
     Bob McCoy passed away.  The problem with discussing Bob is simply where to start.  McCoy was part historical and part mythical.  His life story is detailed in Lynn McCoy’s excellent book, which I reviewed and liked very much.  The historical part can be found in Lynn’s book, which is faithful to the subject, her husband.  The mythical and even mystical part of Bob McCoy’s life is that he represented all that we want to believe in and all that we want to become.  Knowing the real McCoy, so to speak, isn’t quite enough, we need to know that in Bob McCoy we could see and do whatever we wanted to do.  If Bob could do it, so could we.  He had a lot of stories and I’m going to tell you right now, I believe each and every one of them; because I want to.  No, because I need to believe in them.
     Most people who knew Bob can be separated into two groups; those that watched him race cars and those that knew him as an artist.  There were only a few people who knew the real Bob, or knew all the things that Bob achieved or attempted to do.  He was a racer of note and he was a great artist.  His art work and his wife, Lynn, made his heart sing.  They were a complete set and we saw that at the car shows when Bob would set up his tables and sign all the books on his life and then glance lovingly at Lynn and offer up a great compliment to her.  Bob thought of his artwork as cartoonish and most people would think of that as a negative.  He represented the highest level of the cartoon-like figures that came out of the 1930’s.  There was nothing amateurish about his work.  People craved collecting his work and he had many collectors and fans.  He also had a comical side to him.  He would deliberately put clues and obscure people and facts into his work.  It made him human and if there was anything that his fans needed most, it was his humanity.
     I would see Bob at various car shows.  He would turn up at Don Weaver’s Legends of Ascot reunion in Perris.  He was there to support Walt James at the CRA Reunion at Knott’s Berry Farm.  He was there to support the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California.  He was there to support the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.  He came to the California Car Racers Reunion at Parnelli Jones’ shop in Torrance.  He attended the GoodGuys car show in Carlsbad, the LA Roadsters and the Grand National Roadster Show at the Fairplex in Pomona.  Everywhere he went he brought that Bob McCoy smile with him and would invite you to sit down and talk to him.  He loved the fans, those that saw him race and those that admired his artwork.  His passing leaves a void; where will we see his smile and that beautiful artwork.  Bob McCoy left us with so much and I wish we had been able to give him more time to be with us.

     Bob McCoy, a local San Diego celebrity in the hot rod and racing community passes away.   
The following is from
     We are saddened to announce the passing of former racing great, Bob McCoy. The McCoy family would like to thank everyone for the wonderful outpouring of support during this time and for helping to keep Bob’s legacy alive.  In loving memory of Bob McCoy, 1937–2014.  Bob McCoy began his racing career at Balboa Stadium in San Diego, California driving jalopies in his teen years. He later went on to drive Midgets and then sprint cars before signing a contract to drive in the Indianapolis 500 in the late ’60s. He was critically injured and was unable to drive the Joe Hunt Magneto car at the Indy 500 as planned. 
     Bob had other exotic careers such as wild animal taming and rodeo bronco riding, but is most famous for his abilities as a race car driver and artist. McCoy’s art can be found in homes and offices all around the world. As a former race car driver, Bob McCoy worked from experience. “Whenever I draw a scene from an early ’60s dirt track race, as soon as I’m done, I feel as though I’ve run the entire race myself,” he once said.  McCoy’s art creations consist of original oil paintings of famous hot rods as well as personalized portraits of cars with or without their owners. Perhaps McCoy is most famous for his cartoon art and quarter scale replicas of some of the most famous race cars ever driven. Bob owned about 30 hot rods of his own, including the famous ‘40 Ford Tudor that he purchased back in 1953, which became one of the most photographed hot rods in the United States. It is still featured in hot rod magazines to this day. Bob McCoy has also been featured in several national hot rod magazines in the United States, Japan and Australia.                                                                   
CIRCLE OF IMPACT: THE WILD LIFE AND FAST TIMES OF HOT ROD HERO, BOB McCOY.  Written by Lynn McCoy.  From Hot Rods, Dragsters, Oval Track Racers, and Rodeo, McCoy’s life has been one wild ride after another. Along the way Bob mastered race car graphics and sculpture. His paintings and custom model cars are sought after at big shows around the country. So, buckle up and hang on as author Lynn McCoy takes you through Bob’s fast and furious days in this beautifully designed table-top book, filled with color pictures for only $50 plus $10 for shipping and handling - Order now, they are going fast. To purchase a copy of “Circle of Impact” send a check or money order to: Lynn McCoy, PO Box 1084 Lakeside, CA 92040. Please include your mailing address.
     I had met Bob many times and was a collector of his art work.  One of my old school racing heroes is gone.  Every time I had the honor of talking to Bob he had a smile on his face and had the COOOOLEST racing stories.  Here is a link to a video that features Bob and another of my racing heroes, Dick Fries;
http://youtu.be/z_MtiRDrrRM.  Randy Chenowth, sdracingmuseum@cox.net.
     On Bob McCoy's website they have set a date for a memorial, November 15, 2014, but there is no information on a location or time yet.  They have set up a memorial fund, here is a link to that page; "PLEASE DONATE TO THE BOB McCOY MEMORIAL FUND,
http://www.bobmccoyart.com/about/.”   Randy Chenowth, San Diego Racing Museum.
     Bud Evans has passed away.  I have known Bud Evans since my karting days when he worked at K&P Manufacturing.  I called the Veterans Hospital and he was not listed.  I spoke to his wife she told me of Bud's passing.  Dick Evans
     DICK: Sorry to hear the news.  I am working on a bio of Bud’s life right now and hope to have it in the next issue of the SLSRH.
     The Southern California Chapter of the Society of Automotive Historians named “LandSpeed” Louise Ann Noeth the winner of the 2014 James Valentine Memorial Award in the periodicals category.  Presented for “Excellence in Automotive Historical Research,” the entry entitled "Counting Down to a Century of Speed" appeared in the October 2013 issue of the GoodGuys Gazette.  The 18 page feature encapsulates 100 years of land speed racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.   Here is a link to the 2014 Valentine Award winning article:
Gone Racin’… 2011 America’s Most Beautiful Roadsters Award or AMBR.  Article by Richard Parks, photographs by Roger Rohrdanz.   January 29, 2011.  Reprinted with permission of Internet Brands.  For photographs go to

     This year’s Grand National Roadster Show was held on January 28-30, 2011 at the Los Angeles County Fairplex in Pomona, California.  There were some major changes made from the year before.  One of the changes was that roadsters entering the America’s Most Beautiful Roadsters Award category, or AMBR, must have never been shown at any show prior to the Grand National Roadster Show.  While this is a common practice at the Autorama in Detroit and other shows around the country, it was new for this show, the Granddaddy of all the shows.  Other changes included a new set of judges and judging guidelines.  First, the judges will change from year to year.  Secondly the judges will not be allowed to have any involvement with the AMBR cars that they are judging.  Third, the owner or authorized driver will drive the car a short distance in front of the judges who will observe the roadster in action.  Then the driver will stop in front of a viewing screen.  The judges will approach the vehicle and circle the roadster from all angles, viewing how well the car and the driver fit.  The judges will check out every detail on the car from all angles.  Then the owner or driver will be given an opportunity to point out the features on the car that he/she feels sets the vehicle apart from other roadsters.  The owner will then turn over a “build book” for the judges to review.  The judges will discuss the AMBR cars in a special area and then they will determine which roadster is best in these categories; visual design detail, engineering, interior, engine, paint, undercarriage and the best display vehicle.

     Hearing of the changes made for some banter among the spectators and reporters on the scene.  Change is always greeted with questions.  However, the cars were all beautifully crafted and built and there seemed to be no decline in quality.  One thing that was noticeable was that all the roadsters had a traditional look to them.  Past years saw some designs that pushed the look into the space age with shapes and appliances that our fathers would never have imagined or added to their roadsters.  In fact, the roadsters in past shows had a style and look that traditional roadster lovers would have smirked at.  We wouldn’t have laughed at the innovations, but we certainly would have scratched our heads in wonderment.  Just as many more people would disagree with us, of course, and praise the new styling and customizing as exactly what hot rodding is all about; change and evolution.  There you have it; the old guard meets the new guard.  The AMBR Award is given to the most beautiful roadster and is open to all United States built roadsters, roadster pickups and touring vehicles built in 1937 or earlier, with most of the cars centered on the famous ’32 Deuce.  You can build a modern car, but the design has to be from 1937 or earlier.  There have been 62 cars honored as America’s Most Beautiful Roadster.  Some owner/builders have been honored more than once, such as; Ermie Immerso, Rich Guasco, Bob Tindle, Richard Peters, Bob Reisner, Lonnie Gilbertson, John Corno and Fred Warren.  Ermie was the only one to win it three times.

     Some of the people who stand out include William Niekamp, a dry lakes racer and the first winner of the award.  Leroy Smith, whom we all called Tex, even though he was from Montana, who won it in 1963.  Rich Guasco and George Barris; who are legendary builders and customizers.  Joe McPherson won the award in 1994.  Joe created a special museum where we held car and racing reunions and banquets.  After his death the museum was closed down and we lost a first class site to gather at.  Andy Brizio, Boyd Coddington, Don Varner, Don Tognatti, Romeo Palamides, Ed and Ray Cortopassi, and Blackie Gejeian are names that evoke the past.  Standing next to the monstrously large trophy, which only grows in size as the years go by, one is grasped by the tradition of the AMBR award.  No matter what our views, tastes and ideals are, or how we argue our opinions, the history and heritage of the show and past recipients of the award give us all a little shiver as we view the cars vying for the 2011 AMBR award.  As in the past few years, the AMBR cars are shown in the center of Building 4, right behind the Fine Arts Building and the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum.  This weekend all three buildings are replete with hot rodding’s best cars.  It will take a full three days to see everything while we meet with friends from throughout the nation and give our opinion as to which is indeed the finest roadster for this year’s show.

     Byron Robeck, located in Santa Clara, California, built a ’33 Ford Roadster, named the “Nugget” for owner Phillip Ray, of Montara, California.  Russ and Lora Freund are the owner/builders of a 1923 Ford Roadster which they constructed in their shop, Hot Rods by Freund, in Post Falls, Idaho.  Dick Bennett is the owner/builder of a ’32 Ford Roadster, the Fantom ’32.  He used a Brookville body with a front and rear end modified by Jerry Kugel.  Tim Lohre, from Sacramento, California built a ’36 Auburn Roadster for owner Gary Williams, who lives in Granite Bay, California.  Ed Swisher of Suison, California built a ’32 Ford Roadster for Joe Mitchell, who resides in Long Beach, California.  “I have a lot of Wally’s (trophies) in my house from my son who raced in the Junior Dragster program (NHRA),” said Mitchell.  “There is nothing quite like racing at Pomona,” Mitchell told me.  Jack Hagemann, Jr, from Morgan Hill, California, is the owner/builder of a ’32 Ford Roadster Pickup.  The paint job was done by Mike Dwight of Gilroy, California.  Richard Seals of Hermosa Beach, California entered a 1918 Dodge Roadster. 

     Dan and Linda Moisio from Lake Havasu City, Arizona entered a ’32 Ford Roadster called “Da Twins.”  The Moisio’s had a nice desert display with a female manikin with an ample display and may have been the motive for the car’s nickname.  Jeff Chandler of Portland, Oregon is the owner of a ’33 Ford Roadster, built by Steve Frisbie, of Steve’s Auto Restoration, also located in Portland.  Daniel Deshon of Rancho Mirage, California displayed a ’32 Ford Roadster built by the Rod Shop in Phoenix, Arizona.  Deshon told me that he is belongs to the Palm Springs Cruising Association, a group with 150 members and photographs were taken of his car.  John Buck saw the photos and contacted Deshon and asked him to enter the AMBR contest.  Prior to this contact he had no thought of entering his roadster.  Owner Nick Kallos brought his ’29 Ford Roadster, from Las Vegas, Nevada.  The chassis was built by the So-Cal Speed Shop in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The original So-Cal Speed Shop was sold by founder Alex Xydias to Pete Chapouris and now there are several shops in the Southwest.  The final AMBR entry was a ’34 Ford Roadster owned by Daryl Wolfswinkel of Mesa, Arizona.  The builder was Doug Jerger, the son of Squeeg Jerger, from Squeeg’s Kustoms.  Doug mentioned that he made changes to this car from his father’s design and received a lot of fatherly rebuke.  This is the car that won the 2011 AMBR contest, so father and son played a role in winning the award.
Gone Racin’ is at

Gone Racin’…To the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) exhibit.  Story by Richard Parks, photographs by Roger Rohrdanz.   January 27, 2014.  Reprinted with permission of Internet Brands.  For photographs go to www.hotrodhotline.com

     The Grand National Roadster Show (GNRS) is a hallowed event among car show enthusiasts.  It is the second oldest car show that we know of, following the Hot Rod Exposition in Los Angeles by a year.  Right from the very beginning in 1949 there has been a top category for outstanding and breathtaking roadsters.  The term that is used is the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster or AMBR category.  And like all beauty contests there will be some who cheer for one style of design and construction and others who have differing opinions.  The judges are men of high standing in the hot rodding community and car builders themselves.  They keep a low profile, for the emphasis is on the cars alone.  They have rules that they follow and they go over the cars with absolute care.  The builders and owners of these great roadsters then have to drive them a short distance so that the judges can see if they are usable as well as beautiful in design.  Over the years the criteria has gotten stricter and stricter.  In the old days a participant in the AMBR contest would simply drive his car to the show, enter it and after the show was over drive it home.  Today these cars are so valuable that they aren’t driven as much as they should be.

     The AMBR contestants this year were; Ron Goodwin’s ’32 Ford High Boy, Charles Matus’ ’27 Ford, Dan Van Auken’s ’32 Ford, Wes Rydell’s ’35 Chevy Phaeton, Bill Grant’s ’32 Ford, Paul Gommi’s ’32 Ford Phaeton, Larry Maddox’s ’32 Ford, Paul Tregembo’s ’31 Ford Pick-up, Richard Chiarenza’s ’34 Chevy Phaeton, Bill Enderson’s ’23 Ford, and the Gerber Special, a ’32 Ford land speed race car.  The AMBR award winner for 2014 was Wes Rydell’s entry, a ’35 Chevy Phaeton called the “Black Bowtie.”  Rydell’s car was designed by Chip Foose and built by Troy Trepanier.  The sentimental favorite was the high school designed and built ’31 Ford Pick-up.

     One of the AMBR contestants was a 1931 Ford roadster pick-up from Roseville, Michigan.  The listed owner was Paul Tregembo, but it was a group effort.  Paul is a shop teacher at Roseville High School and this is very much a joint effort of shop teachers, students, parents and professionals in the school district.  In the school districts that I have taught at the vocational and shop classes are the first to be cut when money is short and at best there is only one, possibly two courses offered.  Sometimes the courses are in art, pottery or cooking and the shop classes for boys are non-existent.  But in Michigan the school boards make it a priority to have vocational training for both men and women.  Roseville High School coordinates their efforts with ten other high schools in the school district to provide a well-rounded education for their vocational students.  Paul mentioned that they have active and well-attended classes in automotive, wood, machine, welding, ceramics, electronics, metal, day and night classes and other vocational classes and encourage young women as well as young men to enter the program.  About the only class lacking is upholstery and they have a former student complete that function.  Painting, pinstriping and design are also taught.

     Paul told me that they found the pick-up as a barn find in Ohio in September and had only four and a half months to rebuild it and enter it in the AMBR competition.  Some 140 students worked on the car, along with parents, teachers and other volunteers.  This is not the first show that they have entered.  They have entered the Cobalt Hall, Detroit Autorama, ISCA Nationals in Houston where they placed 3rd in their class, and other car shows in Iowa, Milwaukee and Indianapolis.  Paul said that they had started a car for the Riddler prize, but ran out of funds.  Their program is called DRIVE-ONE and they have been restoring and showing cars at events since 1973.  Paul and his son Paul Tregembo Jr started this program in the school district in the 1960’s and it has grown larger every year since.  They even take some students from the local Junior High Schools who show enthusiasm and aptitude.  Each year they rebuild and restore an old car and have fundraisers to purchase parts, materials and to enter and go to shows around the country.  Paul Sr wanted to especially mention Mark O’Brien who owns the local Ford dealership for his sponsorship and generosity.  When the fundraisers failed to raise all the money that they needed, Mark opened his heart and his checkbook to put the project in the black.  Many parents, teachers, volunteers and the local Methodist Church also donated generously.

     The instructors, parents or volunteers who made the trip included; Paul Tregembo Sr, Paul Tregembo Jr, Kevin Parrinello, Mike Marsiglio, and Dale Strubank.  Mike is an electrician and welder.  Kevin, Paul Jr and Sr are instructors in the shop classes.  Dale is the machinist for the group projects.  The students that participated were; Angeline Kurtti, Kyle Malone, Dan Fraser, Chelsea Daniels, Ryan Vincent, John Solgot, Brian Salenik, Justin Salenik, Dillon Capshaw, Bryan Noce, Jacob Collins, Joe Tregembo, Darien Blaszkowski, Shelby Gilliam and Brandon Tregembo.  Brandon does all the painting and pinstriping on the cars.  Upon graduation the students who have participated in the DRIVE-ONE program throughout 12 school districts in Michigan can find employment through a network of employers who support the program or who once were students themselves and are now self-employed in automotive related businesses.
Gone Racin’ is at RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM.
Gone Racin'... Scott Andrews biography.  Biography and photographs by Scott Andrews, editing by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.  Circa 2012.  Reprinted with permission of Internet Brands.  For photographs go to

     The Andrews Clan has its roots solidly planted in Southern California.  My Mother's family was the Bigbee’s; my Grandfather was Chuck Bigbee and my Grandmother was Gladys Hauk Bigbee.  They were born in Los Angeles and both attended Foshay Junior High and Dorsey High School in the city.  They were high school sweethearts and remained married for 64 years before Gladys passed away a few years ago.  This was a true love affair and it was wonderful to watch as their Grandson.  My Grandfather was very involved in the aircraft industry during the prewar (WWII) era and then moved into the Army Air Corps as a B-17 Captain flying out of Foggia, Italy doing his 25 missions mostly over Germany.  Chuck was also active in the Southern California Timing Association and raced at the Muroc Dry Lake in his 1932 roadster before and after World War II.  He also helped Lupe Boyd run his 1929 roadster that was apparently well ahead of its time.  He related to me recently that Lupe went 109 MPH with the roadster and that was really fast in those days.  Lupe and Chuck’s favorite hangouts were at Curries Malt Shop on Crenshaw or at the Big Pig in Culver City, California.


     My father, Gary Andrews, was born in Santa Monica, California in 1942.  His side of the family moved to Southern California from the Midwest.  Gary's mother was Rose Lee Jones and she was born in Kansas City, Missouri.  Gary’s Dad was George Wilburn Andrews, and he came from Knoxville, Tennessee and moved to Los Angeles in 1946 to open a drive-in “car hop” restaurant/hot dog stand in Bellflower, California.  When the street was widened and they had to close the hop, George and Rose opened a Mexican restaurant in the same city.  Gary was a child of the war and he grew up with very solid values and an excellent work ethic.  My father related a few stories of growing up in the restaurant business and the hard work that was necessary to contribute to the family.  At nine years old he had a charge account at the local stamp store, and was given financial responsibilities at a very young age.  My mother was Claudia Bigbee Andrews and she was born in Los Angeles in 1943 and the family lived on Arlington Street.  They eventually moved to the San Fernando Valley in Sylmar and had a small ranch that they tended.  She moved to Tarzana and both her and my Dad attended Reseda High School where they became high school lovers.   


     On the racing side my Dad was in charge of the shop at C.T. Automotive in North Hollywood, California and was involved with the Top Fuel dragster that was campaigned out of that business.  C.T. was one of the few companies that made stroker crankshafts and they were very popular in the late 1960's and early '70's.   Many of his close friends went on to drag racing fame such as Dave Zeuschel, Don Prudhomme “Spider” Razon, Chris Karamesines, Sid Waterman and many others.  Many days of my young childhood were spent at the racetrack with the top fueler.  I was raised at Lions, San Fernando, Santa Ana and the other local tracks in the late 1960's and early '70's.  Racing was in my blood at a very young age.  My dad was also the track announcer during the late 1960's and early '70's at the Bay Mare motocross track in Fillmore, California.  This track was the premiere venue for the newly developed style of off-road racing.  Dad, when taking a lunch break, would allow a very young Bruce Flanders to take over the microphone.  Bruce has gone on to have a lifelong career in announcing and commentating.  Dad also did some stints announcing at other special motorcycle events at Hopetown and Indian Dunes for the Viewfinders Grand Prix.  After leaving C.T. Automotive, Dad was involved working for Champion Racing Helmets in Canoga Park, California.  Following that we moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he became a partner in another helmet manufacturing and accessory company called Pro-Am Helmets in Washington, Pennsylvania.  This was my first job; packaging helmets in the warehouse.  After a tragic fire burned Pro-AM helmets to the ground, the family was forced to move back to California and make a new start.


     My dad’s last two career positions were with Filters Incorporated in North Hollywood, California and then finally with A.I.R. in Los Angeles and Dallas, Texas as the sales manager in these tune-up and automotive air conditioning parts distribution company.  My parents now call Fort Worth home, and my Mother Claudia has retired from AAA Travel in Fort Worth, Texas, where she was their top producer in that state.  My mom held a few jobs in the electronics industry working for one of the first computer chip manufacturers, Burroughs in Thousand Oaks, California.   When my two younger sisters, Wendi and Bunni, had grown old enough to allow her some extra time she worked for Whittaker in Chatsworth.  But the kids were always her first priority and we have all grown up the better for it.  Dad has become one of the most respected numismatists (coin dealers) in Texas.  I am very proud of my parents and grandparents.  I have been very fortunate to have such good role models.        


     I was born in the Encino Hospital in Encino, California, on April 24, 1963.  The hospital building is still there, but today it is an outpatient medical center.  I am the oldest of three children with my sister Wendi Andrews Short being next in line followed by my little sister Bunni Andrews Hoeffel.  We lived in Reseda when I was born and then we moved to Thousand Oaks, where I attended Conejo Elementary School.  When the family moved to Washington, Pennsylvania I attended Chartiers Elementary School and then Chartiers/Houston Middle School.  Upon moving back to California in 1976, I attended Columbus Junior High in Winnetka, after living in Canoga Park for a short time.  I then transferred to John A. Sutter Junior High School, also in Winnetka.  My sisters and I went to Cleveland High School in Reseda.  It is one of the smallest public high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.  After high school, I took some business classes at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, which gave me some of the necessary skills that I have needed to run a small business.


     While at Columbus Junior High School and then later on at Sutter Junior High, I enrolled in many of the shop classes.  My first shop course was with Mr. Combs’ print shop and my next class was in electric shop.   At Sutter I enrolled in the print shop again and a great wood shop class with a Mr. Ostash.  One of the classes that I most remember is the plastic shop at Sutter JHS.  The smell of cutting and polishing acrylic plastic is still one of those aromas that I will never forget.  When I walk into my friend's (Mike Dekker) plastic shop to this day, it is an instantaneous feeling of a warm day in the Sutter plastic shop.  We made really cool stuff like multi-colored paper weights and gear shift knobs for the cars that we did not yet own.  Many parents saw those gear shift knobs on their cars and the kids always got a charge out of seeing them in use.  Oddly, I never had any of the metal shop classes that were offered.  I do not know why, but the people in the class were always dirty and maybe that had something to do with it.  I took a few drafting classes.  I feel that I designed the first RX-7 exterior before Mazda did.  I could have easily ended up in that line of work.   The Los Angeles Unified School District closed the auto shop at my high school in 1980, so I was not able to take the class past 10th grade.  I was to be the shop lead student the following year, but I was not able to once the course had been cancelled permanently. 


     Some of my Cleveland High School buddies and their cars were John Toneman who had a 1968 Camaro, 327 engine, primer 4 speed car and it was fast.  Steve Uno owned a 1971 Chevelle, with a goldish/brown metallic stock paint job, automatic transmission and the car was always very clean.  Robert Green's car was a 1979 Corvette, with a black glass t-tops and it made everyone jealous.  Big Ben Hutcherson owned a 1969 Camaro, painted blue and primered at one point, which was also very fast.  Steve Ray's car was a 1969 Camaro, painted yellow, with power glide, a 327 Chevy engine and was a really nice car, until I crashed it!  Todd Goldstein had a 1965 Mustang Coupe, yellow paint job with a 289 Ford motor, which was really fast, until he crashed it!  He went to Taft High School.  When I was a teenager my parents bought a 1941 Willys Pick-Up street rod and joined a street rod club called the Hard Times.  This was a great place to go with other street rodders and have fun on the weekends.  I can remember going to many of the street rod runs with them at Kernville, Costa Mesa, Bakersfield, and Las Vegas, all points of interest in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona.  This was as close to a car club as I ever got.  By the time that I came through high school the times had changed and it was not “a thing” to join a car club.  The mini-truck Volkswagen guys had pretty popular clubs but that was about it.  There were also the low rider clubs, but that was not very apparent where I was in school, or living in Reseda and Winnetka at that time.  I got my first car when I was 17. 


     My Aunt Stevi (my dad’s little sister) worked at the local Pontiac dealership called 'Prestige' on Van Nuys Blvd.  She spotted a 1969 Pontiac Firebird Convertible that came through on a trade for a new car.  It was yellow on black with a 4 speed Muncie M-22 “rock crusher” transmission.  She called my dad, with me in mind, and they made a deal on my behalf for $400.  My Dad came and picked me up from my after school job at Valley Head Service in Northridge with no advance warning.  I was blown away.  My new car was so cool, well it was really a pile, but to me it was the car of my dreams.  I was 17 and I had a convertible, come on, this was too much!  I did not know how to really drive a stick shift car, but I learned on the way home that day with my Dad.  He gave me the keys and I never looked back.  I was working at Valley Head Service during the end of the eleventh grade and into my senior year.  I started at the bottom as the engine disassembly and hot tank guy.  I loved the job.  I was around cool people that liked cars and they made go-fast stuff, a Gear Grinders heaven.  I eventually worked my way up to being the parts and inventory manager.  It was a job well suited for me as I had spent the last 3-4 years working at my Dad’s automotive parts distribution business.  I knew part numbers and how to put an inventory together.  This was great, I had a good job, and I eventually moved out of my parent’s house and moved into my own guest house in Northridge.  I had my own place and a cool car, life was good.  I was broke usually trying to keep the car running and the insurance paid, but I was my own person in the big world.


     I met Terry Singleton, who was the driver for a Saugus Speedway car owner by the name of Hansen that ran a few Union 76 gas stations here in the west San Fernando Valley.  Valley Head Service was doing the motors so I was seeing the car regularly when they would come in for freshen-ups on the motors.  Terry eventually asked if I wanted to come along and help on the car.   I jumped at the deal and found myself going to the races with them every Saturday night.  We also raced on the dirt at Corona.  It was a bunch of fun and eventually we had two cars, one running in Street Stock and the other in Sportsman, both were early 1970's Chevrolet Chevelles.  We did pretty well and won a few races along the way.  Ron Hornaday is the only person still racing from Saugus that I knew then, and he is still competitive in the NASCAR Truck Series.  I also worked for John on his Talon A-Sport racer at Willow Springs for a few races.  My first job was working for Pro-Am Helmets in Washington, Pennsylvania.  I would go with my Dad to the shop and during the summer or on many Saturdays I would package helmets into cardboard boxes for shipment to customers.  This is also where I learned that I was highly allergic to fiberglass and in spite of that, I would still work in the shop.  I really liked it and it gave me a sense of accomplishing a task. 


     After moving back to California in 1975 Dad started Filters Inc. with Jay and Donna Hecht.  This was an automotive air; fuel and oil filter sales company that grew into tune-up parts and eventually added air conditioning parts for sale as well.  I would deliver parts to tune up shops and gas stations as well as automotive service companies with my Mom in our 1971 Cadillac Coupe De Ville.  When I was not delivering parts with her, I would package parts, point, condensers, caps, rotors, filters and sometimes I would help in the office to enter data into the computer.  This job was good for me as I was the boss’ son.  That gave me the distinct honor of having more work and never saying anything that was out of line.  I had to hold the position with diligence as there was no slacking, especially for me.  Jay Hecht taught me some good skills, and when I was in the office I would always listen to my Dad as he did sales work over the phone with his clients.  This would end up being an irreplaceable education that I still use to this day.  I worked on and off for my Dad until the eleventh grade and then I went out on my own.  I did the typical teenager summer job between the freshman and sophomore years.  I worked at the Taco Bell around the corner from the house.  When I had my fill of that I went to Wendy’s for about two weeks; that was the end of my fast food career.  Taco Bell was fun for the one summer just because you could feed all of your friends for free.  Now I see why fast food owners must pull their hair out; we fed a bunch of people all the time.  It seemed so innocent in those days. 


     Following the job at Filters, Inc. and the short fast food stint, I went into the automotive field working for Larry Ofria at Valley Head Service in Northridge.  Larry and my Dad went to Reseda High School together and he hired me because of that relationship.  As I previously mentioned I was in the disassembly and hot tank area and gradually worked my way into the parts inventory guy assisting Mark DeGroff the shop manager at the time, while I was a senior in high school from 1980-1981. The personalities at Valley Head Service were really awesome.  All different types of people that all seemed to try to keep me in line.  Morey (I do not remember his last name) was always giving me a hard time, but he was really nice and always had his elbow on the CK-10 honing machine going up and down smoking his cigarette telling me that I needed to do something or other.  He was a cool guy and always made sure that I was doing my job correctly.  I heard a number of years ago that he had passed away and I was saddened to hear that.  Bill the guy that did the cylinder head porting was a curmudgeon, but he also was friendly to me and would have some fun stories that I wanted to hear about the “older guys.”  One day Bill was porting a magnesium intake manifold and he kept all of the chips and taught me how to mix it with some iron oxide and then light it on fire.  That was cool!  A few days later I saved up a bunch of it and put it in a 1/3 pint milk container that was opened.  I then took the container out into the alley behind Valley Head Service; I stood back and flicked matches in the direction of the milk container.  Well needless to say one of them finally went in and BOOM, the whole alley lit up.  I was singed all over the front of my body and everyone from three buildings in either direction came out to see what had happened.  I was still dazed and while I was okay, my hearing was ringing for a few days after that.  That was the end of my pyrotechnics career.  That was the day I learned that magnesium is not to be played with.  


     One day I walked in to work around noon after school, Larry and Mark called me into the office to tell me that they thought that I had swiped a set of titanium small block Chevy valves.  I was building a 350 Pontiac for my Firebird and had no interest in Chevy parts, especially when Del West valves were very rare and expensive at that time.  I pled my case, but I ended up getting fired.  The assumption was that I took the valves and sold them at the street races.  I immediately went to B&M Transmissions in Chatsworth, a family friend and company owned by Bob Spar and he hired me nearly on the spot.  But when they called Larry Ofria from Valley Head Service the next day he did not give me a favorable report and I was fired in two days.  I went back to Valley Head Service on Friday to get my check; they had found the valves as I knew they would.  I did not get an apology for that incident, until nearly 20 years later, when I told Larry that story.  Mark DeGroff went on to start his own shop, DeGroff’s Cylinder Head Service, in Northridge, and we still do business together.  I still see Larry from time to time, and he still has the shop.  He felt very bad about my firing and he claims that he did not know how bad it hurt me at the time.  I was forced to change vocations, the automotive career that I had envisioned was dashed, and it was time to move on.  I graduated from Cleveland High School in 1981 (Go Cavaliers!) and a new direction seemed fine, if not what I really wanted.  Hello architectural door and hardware world, Scott is in the building.


     I went to work for Atlantic Hardware out of Manhattan, New York, with an office in Northridge and stayed in that field selling contract commercial doors and hardware until buying Andrews Powder Coating, Inc. in December of 1990.  During my door and hardware employment, I worked for John Dezso at John Dezso and Associates in Harbor City, California and then for Mike Brownell at Brownell and Associates both jobs were selling hardware and doors to the commercial and industrial markets.  I finished with Dave Breliant at Americh Hardware in North Hollywood, as a salesman of doors and hardware.  Dave and I are friends to this day along with many others that are still special to me from the hardware days.  I worked as an apprentice and eventually got my Architectural Hardware Consultant’s “degree.”  This was the end of my employee career, and I have been self-employed since 1990 and hope to retire to an aspiring job as a Wal-Mart greeter, employee bliss someday.  Thankfully, all of the great veterans that so dutifully did their service duty while I was growing up, and I have them to thank for keeping this great country safe.  I did not need to enlist (I did legally register as a senior) and the draft had long since been abolished.  My Grandfathers promises to get me into the Air Force Academy were lost on girls and cars much to his dismay I am sure.  


     I have worked for just about every type of motorsport arena.  The start was just as a kid growing up in a drag racing family, but that ended while I was very young.  The next step for me was during those days as an eleventh grader working on a stock car for the Hanson's.  The next team that I helped was through a junior high school and high school sweetheart, Jody Nalian.  Just before graduating from high school, I was asked to move out, and the sooner the better.  I was becoming a bit of a handful for my parents and I needed to get out on my own and find out what real life was about.  Jody’s parents had a nice house in Northridge and they let me stay in the detached guest house/garage.  I had a great pool and my own place, oh yeah and my 1969 Firebird convertible, it was a good graduating summer.  Jody introduced me to her older boyfriend, Bob Burroughs.  Bob was a boat racer at heart.  He was assembling a hydro and he was helping a guy by the name of Bill Dunlap on an alcohol Funny Car.  Bob asked me if I wanted to help out.  The car was called “Captain Crazy” and it was a Ford EXP with an Arias 8.3 liter and a 14-71.  The car was driven by a few guys, amongst the notable ones were Gary Southern and Jim Smart.  I ended up touring with them to the races between here and Texas and up north to Seattle and Idaho.  The car was really fast and would normally be the fastest car at the races, but that meant that we were not always the quickest.  This was during the era of the Funny Cars being run against the Alcohol Dragsters.  Our BB/FC was good and capable of winning and we did win a few races. 


     I had a choice to make, this time it was not the Air Force Academy or girls and cars, but rather a choice of only girls or cars.  One day when leaving OCIR after being knocked out early, my girlfriend at the time was late getting to the track and she was turning into the track as we were leaving.  This was before cell phones so she did not know that we were no longer in the show.  I asked Bill to stop the truck and his next words changed my attitude towards being a professional crewman.  He said, “If you get out of this truck you will never get back in.”  I asked him again to stop the truck and that was the last time that I toured with Bill Dunlap and the "Captain Crazy" crew.  I did some work for him later on when he ran an Alcohol Hydro and helped him out when he would occasionally run Nitro in the Funny Car class.  Bill was wild and crazy and I think that combined with his wife at the time, Patty, it was quite a raucous household.  Bob Burroughs eventually got his Top Fuel Hydro together, which was called “Plum Crazy.”  We ran the boat a number of times as the drag boat racing sport was at its height.  This was also the time that many boat racers were getting killed as the speeds kept getting faster.  Bob’s boat was one of the transition boats that started life as an open boat and slowly was converted to a roll cage only and finally a full F-16 cockpit, but Bob was getting ill and he never ran the boat in the fully enclosed configuration.


     In 1984 I helped Tim Grose with his Corvette Funny Car sponsored by Skoal Bandits that went to the final round at the NHRA Winternationals but runner-upped.  This was the last bit of drag racing as a real crew member that I did.  I have helped a few friends with some Super Stockers, Stockers and Comp dragsters but drag racing as a profession was not in my future.  I did an endurance race and a few one-day events for Stan Goldstein in his A-Sport racer at Willow Springs.  I occasionally would help Stan as his son Todd and I were best friends growing up.  Stan was a great driver and he did some teaching at Willow Springs too.  The next time that I went racing in earnest was with Bob Walker in 1994-95 and his SCRA Walker Motorsports 410 sprint car.  Bob was a client of my business, Andrews Powder Coating, Inc.  As the relationship developed he found out that I had wrenched on quite a few projects so he asked me to come along to a race.  Bob was just learning to drive a sprint car and he had a very nice car.  We would fly his Cessna 310 twin to the closest airport and then meet the car at either the local race shop or at the track.  It was really fun.  Bob was a great guy but he was a terrible driver.  We trashed that poor car and he had the best equipment.  The first car was purchased from Brett Kaeding when Brett was actively driving.  The sprint car deal continued for two seasons and ended in 1998 for me.  Walker continued to drive for another two seasons and eventually put his son Tyler in the car who went on to become the OUTLAW sprint car series champion in 2003.


     Land Speed racing came into my blood in 2000.  My first wife, Connie, and I were going through a divorce and Nick Arias III asked me to come to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, to work on his new AA/Gas Lakester.  I went to Bonneville and ended up working on the car and never did see it go down the salt.  I went back in 2003 and had the same thing happen.  Nick's car was so damn nice and it would always eat the main journals (bearings) or the rod journals.  The problem with the 10 liter seemed to never go away.  The car was sold in 2005 to a new owner and they have had good success with it.  They really did not do anything different other than change to Mobil 1 synthetic oil.  This was always a change that Nick Jr. (Nick III’s Dad) had argued against, saying the standard 70 weight oil was the way to go.  He is the engine builder and piston manufacturer and most importantly he paid the bills for the car, so we did what he wanted.  This may have been a decision that will haunt him for many years.  The car is good for 300+ MPH and I am sure that it will see those speeds before being retired.  But the experience that I got from going to the salt those two times was great and I will always have land speed racing close to my heart.  One of my fondest memories is of Andy Green the Thrust SST driver that set the world land speed record of 766 MPH in 1997.  He was wandering around the pits in 2003 when he came in to the pit that I was hanging around in.  We ended up drinking margaritas out on the salt and that was remarkable.  He was very unassuming and quite the humble gentleman.  He related his new effort to us the JCB DieselMax streamliner that set the diesel land speed record in 2006.  I can also remember doing a few 360's in the Cadillac SVX that Nick Arias III and I had rented from the Salt Lake City Alamo car rental.  We learned that three is about the max that you could spin one on the salt.  We laughed the entire three revolutions, our stomachs hurt after that experience.      


     My time had finally come to drive.  While at a Gear Grinders meeting in April 2008 the room was asked how their racing projects are coming in anticipation of the first meet in May.  One of the people that were asked to speak was Richard Hufnagl.  Richard stood up and said a few words, but they stuck out in my mind.  He mentioned that his car was done and that he just needed someone to help him run the car.  I have been a minor partner in helping Bob Sights Jr. build a 1926 Roadster that has been under construction since 2006 after purchasing it from some guys in Colorado.  The car has been somewhat stuck in the build and I was really wanting to have some fun.  So at the end of the meeting I approached Richard and asked him about his car.  He did not say much, but we did have a few nice words and I gave him my info.  A week later I found myself taking the 2+ hour trip to Perris, California to look at what he had.  Richard and I spent a bit of time in his “Man Cave” as he called it; and after about an hour he invited me back to the work area.  There on an open trailer was this bright red, really ungainly 1971 Citroen DS 4-door.  I was a bit put off by the thing.  But the more that I looked at it the more interesting it became.  The car was built in the mid-1990's by Don Borgquist and Pete Prentice and aptly named the “Thunder Frog.”  Being a French car the name was perfect. 


     Don was an engineer at Boeing and he had an eye for seeing what most people miss.  This car was really cool.  The original body has not been changed and all of the original features are still intact including the radio antenna.  The car has a full belly pan and factory ‘fender skirts.'  Don knew when he built this car that it was special.  With a belly pan and factory one-piece rear fenders that acted as fender skirts, allows the car to run in Altered with a distinct advantage to most of the cars in this class.  If the body was not changed the aerodynamic drag coefficient of .33 allowed for better airflow compared to almost any other car.  It was legal cheating.  Don and Pete also added a removable chin that allows the car to also run in Competition Coupe.  The fabrication work is incredible.  These guys basically built a funny car chassis inside of the original fiberglass and steel body.  They thought about every detail and even put a great ventilation system in the car to allow for the dust to clear when running the car at El Mirage.  An escape roof hatch was also added to allow for better entering and exiting.  The original hydraulic suspension was dashed to allow the car to sit an inch and a half from the ground.  It is remarkable and the aero on this car is great.  They installed a blown big block Chevy engine in the completed car and proceeded to set a bunch of records in the late 1990's.  I have looked at the log book and found records as high as 242 MPH and it was rare that the car did not perform as expected, what an awesome piece of creativity.        


     Richard bought the car in 2000 with a partner, Charlie Reno, from Pete Prentice, after Don Borgquist had passed away tragically and Pete had the Citroen DS shell sitting in his back dirt lot gathering dust.  When Richard Hufnagl asked Pete about the car and if it was for sale he replied sure, “I was just going to cut it up and put the pieces on my wall in the shop!”  Richard and Charlie bought the car for $5000 and started to assemble engines and get the car dialed in.  Charlie never seemed to get into the car and they ran only one time in 2003 with less than acceptable results.  Richard noticed that the steering was not right and at speed the car body was dropping down on the top of the front tires making the steering really tough.  On top of that the clutch master cylinder started to leak.  It was decided that the front end needed to come out and the whole geometry redesigned.  Richard was now working on the car alone as Charlie had exited the project by this time.  The car now had a 499 c.i. Kinsler Fuel injected Chevy big block with Canfield aluminum heads and electronically computer controlled nitrous capabilities, the "Thunder Frog" is alive and kicking (hopping) again. 


     Richard, while walking me around the car says, “well get in.”  I hopped into the funny car style cage and got that feeling of being right at home.  Richard starts to tell me about all of the controls and where everything is located.  Here is the fuel pump, he says, and here is the water pump and the master ignition is right below the steering column.  He says, "Well, hit the switch!"  I followed his orders and 24 volts of the helicopter-starter began to turn the high compression big block over, with less than two revolutions the engine barks to life with a mean rumble, wow, what a machine.  This car is the real deal, no excuses and no money spared on the engine.  It sounds great.  We shut the motor down and he says, "well how do you fit, you will be doing the driving!"  My head spins and I feel like the clouds have parted and my day behind the wheel looks like it has finally come.  I tell Richard that I do not have a license; he retorts, “No problem, we will get that in May, at the two day event.”  The deal is done.  I left Richard's house that day with a head that is so big that I was worried about getting into my car for the ride home.  It was surrealistic.  I have one call to make.  I must call my favorite Frenchman, Philippe Fu-Tanh Danh.  Philippe and I have been friends since he moved here from France in 1987.  Philippe was a photographer with Hot Rod at the time and he was the one that called me to shoot my 1985 S-10 pickup for the July 1987 issue.  We became fast friends and it has continued till this day. 


     Philippe is also the one responsible for getting me to go to France in 2000 with him to watch the 24 hours of Le Mans, a trip that I will never forget.  His hospitality was incredible and he introduced me to his closest friends and family and in many cases we stayed with them during the 15 days that we were there.  Mr. Danh also owned a Citroen SM alcohol funny car that I had helped him to store for a few years here in Los Angeles.  Our Citroen connection was now going to come full circle.  I called and told him the story.  He was floored by the news that I was going to drive a Citroen DS as he is a big land speed racing fan, he was also going to become the third team member, he accepted immediately.  The three amigos now had a team that we could go and have some fun with this awesome car.


     The first debut was May, 2008 at El Mirage for the new combination of the reworked suspension, engine and crew.  The car was ready and I hoped that I could get the job done.  Before my first pass, Ron Main of “Flatfire” came up to me and gave me some really kind words of encouragement.  Ron has a really fast car from Chatsworth and that was very kind of him.  My first pass needed to be a 125 to 150 miles per hour (mph) to qualify for a “D” licensing pass, and we went 136 mph and the first step was done.  Pass number two required a run of 150 to 175 mph for the “C” license pass, and we went 163 mph.  One more pass was necessary and that was the 175 to 200 mph speed in order to attain the “B” licensing pass and we went 173 mph.  Mike Cook, the course steward, came and congratulated me for an excellent pass and he stated, “I will sign off your 175 mph and you have got your “B” license.”  We had it done in three passes!  I was overjoyed and so were Richard and Philippe.  Even Jerry Hathaway, from SM Motors, came out from Valencia to watch, all of us were so happy.  Jerry holds the other Citroen record at 187 mph.


     I am married to Sandee Willis since 2005, and she is the light of my life.  Other than racing some BMX when she was a teen, she has not been involved in racing.  Sandee likes to come and help when the conditions are nice.  She is into real horses as opposed to horsepower!  Her experience in breeding Arabian horses is widely known and she continues to pursue that passion.  We have no children, but our lives have been rich and rewarding.  I am still the owner of Andrews Powder Coating, Inc. in Chatsworth.  Our custom powder coating shop serves many in the automotive world and that is what originally brought me to this business.  I have Steve Stanford, the great automotive artist, to thank for introducing me to the original owner of this business, Lowell Garland Sheldall and Helen Sheldall.  Steve also designed our original logo and hand-done lettering used for our logo name.  The Sheldall’s started the business in 1980 and I assumed ownership in 1990 after being a client of theirs.  My introduction to powder coating was also encouraged by the drag racer and custom upholstery extraordinaire, Tony Nancy.  Tony did some work on my 1985 Chevrolet S-10 show truck that was painted by Bill Carter.  I showed the truck on the R.G. Canning and other show circuits.  I won a bunch of trophies and it always placed at every show that I was entered whether it was a judge's panel or a people's choice award. 


     Tony built a custom grill and some other pieces for the car and he said that I should get them powder coated.  I did not know what powder coating was, but Steve Stanford was working for Bill Carter at Carter Pro Paint here in Chatsworth at the time, and he knew a place around the corner.  I had my bumpers, grill and bed rails for the S-10 powder coated gloss black and I immediately realized that the finish was far superior to liquid paint.  Some years later I was able to get some financing and I went back to the powder coating shop then called P.C. Enterprises and asked the Sheldall’s to sell me the business.  They initially said no to a sale; but only for about four months and then the reality of a cash purchase weighed on them and they sold it to me.  The business has been my longest held position since I started working and I have a real love for the work that we do.  I feel that our work is the best custom powder coating that money can buy, and we are considered by many to be at the top of our game.  I hope to keep powder coating for many years to come.  I love serving the automotive and motorcycle clients and that is the reason that I am in this business.
Gone Racin' is at RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM




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Jonathan Amo, Brett Arena, Henry Astor, Gale Banks, Glen Barrett, Mike Bastian, Lee Blaisdell, Jim Bremner, Warren Bullis, Burly Burlile, George Callaway, Gary Carmichael, John Backus, John Chambard, Jerry Cornelison, G. Thatcher Darwin, Jack Dolan, Ugo Fadini, Bob Falcon, Rich Fox, Glenn Freudenberger, Don Garlits, Bruce Geisler, Stan Goldstein, Andy Granatelli, Walt James, Wendy Jeffries, Ken Kelley, Mike Kelly, Bret Kepner, Kay Kimes, Jim Lattin, Mary Ann and Jack Lawford, Fred Lobello, Eric Loe, Dick Martin, Ron Martinez, Tom McIntyre, Don McMeekin, Bob McMillian, Tom Medley, Jim Miller, Don Montgomery, Bob Morton, Mark Morton, Paula Murphy, Landspeed Louise Ann Noeth, Frank Oddo, David Parks, Richard Parks, Wally Parks (in memoriam), Eric Rickman, Willard Ritchie, Roger Rohrdanz, Evelyn Roth, Ed Safarik, Frank Salzberg, Dave Seely, Charles Shaffer, Mike Stanton, David Steele, Doug Stokes, Bob Storck, Zach Suhr, Maggie Summers, Gary Svoboda, Pat Swanson, Al Teague, JD Tone, Jim Travis, Randy Travis, Jack Underwood and Tina Van Curen, Richard Venza.

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